Davy Byrnes Short Story Award 2014

We are delighted to announce the return of Ireland's biggest short story competition.

€15,000 for the best short story plus five runner-up prizes of €1,000

Competition Judges: Anne Enright, Yiyun Li and Jon McGregor
Sponsored by Davy Byrnes and organised by The Stinging Fly in association with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
—The competition is open to Irish citizens and to writers who are resident or were born in the thirty-two counties. Entries must consist of a previously unpublished short story written in English. The maximum word count is 15,000 words, no minimum. Only one story per entrant.
—A full set of rules and entry forms will be made available in advance of the competition being open for entries in December.
—The deadline for receipt of entries is Monday Feb 3rd 2014. There will be a €10 entry fee.
—The six short-listed writers will be announced in late May/early June 2014 and the overall winner announced in June 2014.
What the judges say:
The Davy Byrnes Award is given to a story that has the writer's name removed, the judges of the prize have been more international than local and the prize money is substantial. These three things meant the world to me when I won in 2004, a time when I felt washed up on the shores of the Irish boom. The short story yields truth more easily than any other form, and these truths abide in changing times. As a writer turned judge, I am looking for a story that could not have been written any other way; that is as good as it wants to be; that is the just the right size for itself.
—Anne Enright
I am a staunch advocate for short stories, and respect any organisation/effort that supports stories and story writers. I am thrilled to be serving as a judge for the Davy Byrnes Award. As for what I look for in a short story, to borrow from Tolstoy: 'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' There are stories written like happy families, which one reads and forgets the moment one puts them down. But the stories that belong to the category of unhappy families, they can do all kinds of things: they touch a reader, or leave a wound that never heals; they challenge a reader's view, or even infuriate a reader; they lead to a desire in the reader's heart to be more eloquent in his ways of responding to the story yet leave the reader more speechless than before. A good story is like someone one does not want to miss in life.
—Yiyun Li
I'm both thrilled and slightly daunted to be taking part in judging the Davy Byrnes Award this year. Thrilled, because it's a prize with an astounding track record of unearthing great talent and excellent stories; the previous judges have clearly had a very sharp reading eye. Daunted, for pretty much the same reasons. There's a lot to live up to.
What I look for in a short story is a kind of intensity of purpose and a clarity of expression; something which holds my attention and rings clearly in my reading mind. For me, this is mostly something in the voice on the page; something in the control of the syntax, which immediately puts me in the world of that story. If it's there, it usually kicks in within the first few lines; after that, it's just a matter of seeing whether the writer can really keep it up.
—Jon McGregor
Anne Enright won the 2004 Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award with her short story, 'Honey'. Her short story collection, The Portable Virgin, was published in 1991, and won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Two collections of stories, Taking Pictures and Yesterday's Weather were published in 2008. Her novels are The Wig My Father Wore, What Are You Like?, The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch, The Gathering and The Forgotten Waltz. The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize. Anne is editor of The Granta Book of The Irish Short Story.
Yiyun Li is the author of two collections of stories: A Thousand Year of Good Prayers, which won the inaugural Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, and Guardian First Book Award; and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, which was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist for Story Prize. The Vagrants, her first novel, was shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She is a MacArthur Foundation fellow, and was named as one of the 20 best writers under 40 by The New Yorker. She served as a judge for 2011-2013 Man Booker International Prize.
Jon McGregor has written three novels and the recent collection of stories, This Isn't The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You. He won the Impac Dublin Literary Award in 2012 for his third novel, Even The Dogs. He is writer in residence at the University of Nottingham, where he edits The Letters Page, a literary journal. He lives in Nottingham, England, and divides his time.
The Davy Byrnes Short Story Award has been held twice before: in 2004 as part of the Bloomsday centenary celebrations and again in 2009. The judges in 2004 were AL Kennedy, the late Caroline Walsh and Tobias Wolff. Richard Ford judged the 2009 competition, which was won by Claire Keegan with ‘Foster’. We published the six shortlisted stories from 2009 in the collection Davy Byrnes Stories.